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Recipe of the week: Breakfast chili: An iconic California treat

Few great restaurants deign to serve breakfast, said Russ Parsons in the Los Angeles Times. Northern California

Few great restaurants deign to serve breakfast, said Russ Parsons inthe Los Angeles Times. Northern California’s Cafe Beaujolais, in Mendocino, was an exception. On this windswept, often chilly coast, “tourists have the time and the need for a serious meal at the beginning of the day.” Owner-chef Margaret Fox’s black bean chili and buttermilk cinnamon coffeecake gradually became tourist attractions in their own right. These days, the restaurant still serves dinner, but its breakfast has fallen victim to competition from a spate of new bed-and-breakfasts. Fox’s recipes have recently been collected in Morning Food: Breakfasts, Brunches, and More for Savoring the Best Part of the Day (Ten Speed Press). You can now sample the iconic chili without even leaving your home:

Recipe of the weekBlack Bean Chili

4 cups dry black beans2 tbsp cumin seeds2 tbsp dried oregano2 cups finely chopped yellow onions1-1/2 cups finely chopped green bell peppers1 tsp minced garlic1/2 cup olive oil1 tsp cayenne pepper1-1/2 tbsp paprika1 tsp salt3 cups (1 28-oz can) crushed whole tomatoes1/3 cup finely chopped jalapeño chilies(2 large jalapeños)1/2 pound Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, gratedSour cream1/2 cup finely chopped green onions8 sprigs or 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Sort through the beans; discard the funky ones and any small pebbles. Rinse well. Place the beans in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by several inches. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for about 1-3/4 hours, or until tender. Water should always cover thebeans, so add more if the beans start to peek through. When the beans arecooked, strain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the reserved cooking water back to the beans.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Toast the cumin seeds and oregano in asmall pan until the fragrance is toasty, about 10 minutes. Sauté the onions,bell peppers, and garlic in the oil over medium-high heat with the toasted cumin seeds and herbs, cayenne pepper, paprika, and salt until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chilies. Add this mixtureto the beans and stir well. Add additional seasoning to taste.

To serve, place about 1/4 cup grated cheese in a warmed bowl, add a generous cup of beans, and dollop with a spoonful of sour cream. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp green onions and cilantro. Serves 8.

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